Bid to restore war memorial plagued by thieves and vandals

Councillor Ashley Evans, left, and Ian Hay from the Friends of West View Park, trying to get the war memorial repaired, West View Park, Highroad Well.

Councillor Ashley Evans, left, and Ian Hay from the Friends of West View Park, trying to get the war memorial repaired, West View Park, Highroad Well.

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A group is on a mission to raise much-needed cash to return a war memorial plagued by thieves and vandals to its former glory.

The memorial, in West View Park, Highroad Well, commemorates the 73 local soldiers who fell in the Boer Wars of 1880-1 and 1899-1902.

Unveiled in 1904, the elaborate stone structure, complete with bronze tablets, a polished granite stage and a bronze figure of a soldier, once stood resplendent in the park.

But more than a century on, the memorial is in serious need of refurbishment and is a project which is likely to cost nearly £100,000.

The campaign for it to be restored is being led by the Friends of West View Park group, local resident Ian Hey and ward councillors.

Councillor Ashley Evans (Lib-Dem, Warley) said: “Apart from suffering the effects of general weathering, the monument has been subject to some vandalism in recent times, not least the theft of one of the bronze commemorative plaques and damage to another. This has led to the removal of the plaques and their storage for safe keeping.

“When the Friends of West View Park was set up a couple of years ago by myself and local residents, one of the key projects determined was the refurbishment of this wonderful monument.

“It is one of only two in the world of its kind. There is an exactly similar one in Hobart, Tasmania. We are in touch with their local authority and hope to coordinate the refurbishment on both memorials.”

Around half of the money needed has been raised and a number of organisations, including Calderdale Council, the War Graves Commission, the War Memorial Trust and Heritage Lottery Fund have been contacted for technical and financial help.

Coun Evans added: “Much work has been done in seeking funding for this project, much of it by Ian Hey, who is to be congratulated on his continuing efforts.

“We currently have a little more than Half the current estimated cost promised to the development and will continue to seek the remainder.”

He added that suggestions on how money could be raised would be welcomed and it’s hoped the work will be complete by 2018/19.

As part of the bid to restore the memorial, contact has recently been made with MP Mark Lancaster, Under Secretary of State for Defence Personnel and Veterans,